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“Co-creating Spaces for Peace & Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. What Steps Are Women Taking

“Co-creating Spaces for Peace & Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula. What

Steps Are Women Taking Toward Sustainable Peace?”

Mrs. Mitty Tohma, WFWP Europe Vice-President,

Her activities range from promoting women’s leadership and valued based education programmes to

empowering youth and civil society. She has organised meetings in the UK parliament to address issues of domestic violence, empowerment, and the dignity of women.


Dr. Julia Moon, President, Women’s Federation for World Peace International

Julia Moon has served as Director General of Universal Ballet since 1996 and is Vice Chairwoman of the Sun Hak Educational Foundation, responsible for the administration of Sun Hwa Arts Middle and High Schools and five other schools in Seoul. .

Welcoming remarks

Dr Julia Moon extended a warm welcome and appreciation to all on behalf of the CoFounder Dr Hak Ja Han Moon, affectionately known as Mother Moon.

She conveyed Dr &Mrs Moon teaching that sustainable peace is established based on a culture of heart and connectedness, which has always been the focus of WFWP. Political solutions are necessary but they require the support of personal and cultural interconnections to avoid war caused by divisions on various levels.

She testified to Mother Moon’s promotion of world peace through convening people beyond historical barriers under the motto ‘Peace starts with Me.’ This is now being expanded to families, societies and the world with women playing the central role alongside men.

She mentioned recent in-person gatherings and online Rallies of Hope with world leaders. These culminated in Think Tank 2022, created by Mother Moon and chaired by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, to support the peaceful reunification of Korea and global peace.

She described the heart of Mother Moon as one of motherly love, connecting with people worldwide and seeking to end suffering caused by poverty, war and family breakdown. She emphasised her teaching that humankind needs to reconnect with our Original, Spiritual Source as one family and preserve our planet.

She concluded by thanking all the panellists for their contributions.


Dr. Yang Ho Hong, Former Vice-Minister of Unification, North Korea Social Research

Centre President,

“Women’s Leadership for Reconciliation and Peace – case in North and South Korea”

Dr. Hong Yang Ho provided some background to the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Referring to the attempts of peace activists to end recurring wars, he acknowledged that their efforts to promote peace and reconciliation are hindered by human selfishness. He explained that the Korean Peninsula has remained divided since 1945 following 36 years of Japanese rule and that the post Korean War armistice (1953) reinforced hostilities between two opposing ideologies, hindering reconciliation and reunification.

Describing South Korea’s approach to reunification as gradual and functionalist, he says the focus is on a peaceful route with arms control, based on the German reunification model, emphasising communication in non-political areas. NGOs and women’s organisations have provided financial and humanitarian assistance. Inter-Korean women leaders’ seminars occurred in the 90s under the title ‘Peace in Asia & the Role of Women.’ The meetings expanded to include other women’s subgroups later. Despite governmental restrictions, he maintains the women’s exchanges created a friendly atmosphere, supporting mutual understanding; however, meetings occur intermittently depending on the relationship between the Northern and Southern authorities.

Although North Korea proclaims women’s rights, he believes limitations are imposed by a strict patriarchal society and national policies. Referring to a few key women leaders who have recently emerged, he views this as the result of a strong network with those in power rather than a general improvement in women’s rights. He acknowledges that women’s status may have improved a little since 2010 due to the expansion of the market economy. In his opinion, North Korea’s response to South Korea is controlled and pragmatic, aiming to secure economic benefits. Perceiving South Korea’s economic progress as a threat, North Korea prefers meetings that promote their policy and takes a more political and militaristic approach, which he claims impedes peace. The Covid lockdown, poor China-US relations and nuclear weapons issues have also stalled the process.

Against this backdrop, he presented seven points supporting women’s role in reunification.

1. Women’s nature of inclusiveness, non-violence and patience support peace and reconciliation

2. Internationally renowned, competent peace-loving women leaders, such as Chancellor Merkel, could play a significant role.

3. International leadership-level women’s solidarity activities could promote a campaign for reconciliation and peace in Korea and request high-position international women leaders to participate and engage with North Korean women leaders.

4. Multilateral international women’s meetings including North and South Korean representatives can mitigate confrontation that arises in bilateral North/South meetings.

5. Conservative and liberal women in the South should cooperate to promote North-South women leadership meetings, focusing on culture and women-related issues to increase homogeneity and cooperation.

6. Overseas training programmes should be offered to elite North Korean women.

7. Women leaders in the South should train in reconciliation, peace, and integration through cooperating with North Korean refugee women settled in South Korea.

He hopes this information serves as a basis for women leaders mediating between North and South Korea.


Hon. Emanuela Del Re, Former Vice Minister Foreign Affairs;

President of the Standing Committee on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Expert on Conflict Studies, Italy

She has conducted field research in conflict zones and areas in transition since 1990, following the social-political-economic transformation of countries and regions such as the Balkans, the Caucasus, North Africa, the Middle East and other.

Hon. Del Re thanked WFWP for the invitation and for the congratulations on her

appointment together with two other ladies as special EU Representatives for the Sahle. She is the first Italian woman to hold the position.

Despite advancements in engaging women in peace processes, she considers the topic relevant as many issues still require appropriate solutions. Passing many resolutions, such as 1325, alone is insufficient; they must be implemented. Since the principles in the resolutions have been reiterated, the importance and necessity of enhancing women’s role in peace processes is now generally understood.

She recalled the disastrous peace process in Syria some years ago where women were completely excluded and other situations, where women entered the process at a later stage to give added value, but without contribution.

Nowadays, due to cultural change, women can be involved from the inception of the process. She emphasised the importance of women leading mediations and negotiations in peace processes as representatives of the feminine part of the population, thus making them more inclusive.

Her experience has taught her, however, that involving women does not automatically guarantee a positive contribution. She emphasised quality over quantity and noted the danger of fulfilling quotas to create a gender balanced panel. Being a nominal representative is insufficient. Active representation with a substantial contribution is required. Having observed some women manage complex situations in the field, she was sometimes dissatisfied with the result, thus highlighting the need for quality

While the freedom to engage in processes and speak out should be available to all women, it is often not. Certain societies are reluctant to accept women’s active participation and may try to conceal this through token female positions. If this is observed, women should connect with each other to enter such sensitive areas and share about women’s opportunities. Technology and networking can support. She restated the importance of including women in all decision-making processes particularly in the West; otherwise, decisions will be made concerning them without their involvement. This must be part of everybody’s awareness.


Mme. Ximena Bartolomé Tocino, Deputy Head at the Embassy of Spain in Mozambique

Madame XBT commenced her speech by thanking WFWP and proceeded to share her vision for sustainable peace from three perspectives.

1. As a diplomat of Spain, she listed Spain’s achievements in the UN and EU regarding women and peace. Spain ensured “women, peace and security” Agenda (Resolution 1325) had practical content. It launched Focal Point Network and shared best practices from

‘Second National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security’ (2017-2023). Spain’s initiative “commitment 2025” with Finland guarantees full participation of women in peace projects by 2025 and its contribution to WPHF strengthens post-conflict societies. Furthermore, it participated in EU Task Force for MPS and signed MoU with ECOWAS

2. As a Spanish diplomat in Mozambique, she has been involved in the ongoing UN peace process since 2019 and believes Spain’s leadership of FGE, Beijing + 25 ensures concrete commitments by Governments, the private sector and civil society. She stressed that reconciliation and peace require economic justice and empowered women. Economic justice allows access to decent jobs, project financing and digitalization. As inclusive fair-trade policies require women’s input, the Spanish programme ‘Focus Africa 2023’ holds regular meetings with African women entrepreneurs, highlighting the sustainability of women-led companies. Girls are empowered by seeking STEM careers, ensuring their full participation in international trade.

3. As wife, mother and professional, she emphasised women’s role in mediating conflicts, educating youth to offer other-minded solutions and in practising empathy. Thus, global conflicts are solved through future oriented solidarity and reconciliation. She concluded that women’s leadership in peace processes achieves more lasting peace as everyone gives to the other, resulting in mutually shared benefits. Hence, women’s arguments counter extremist, opportunistic narratives. Since women notice tensions preceding violence, they quickly rebuild peace.

Referring to 1325 UNSC Resolution, she claimed that it is the first legal instrument to recognise the disproportionate suffering of women in armed conflicts and the first to highlight the role of women in preventing and resolving conflicts.

Finally, she conveyed how experience has taught her that ‘advances are made by people, not by mechanisms or processes.’ The attitude of the listener and transmitter of an idea determines whether it is ‘archived or activated’. Hence, commitment to action is key to recognising thousands of women who have risked their lives for the cause.


Mirae Team

The Mirae Team, Present their Survey of Korean Youth on “Reunification”

'Mirae' is a project of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) Korea, which is aimed towards young people in their 20s and 30s.

Yeon Ju Yoo Tamami NOZOE

The team presented the results of a survey conducted on South Korean

young people (20s&30s) to understand their views on Korean reconciliation. The results of current studies on Korean unification and reconciliation in South Korea indicate that the younger generation prefers reconciliation to reunification. The purpose of this research, however, was to understand the perspectives of the younger generation based on three points: the pros and cons of reunification, the importance of the UN and NGOs and the importance of women’s role.

Regarding the pros and cons of reunification: Over 92 % of the respondents were positive towards reunification with 42% saying it would contribute to world peace, 24% believing it would enhance economic development and 12% agreeing it would unite families. A small percentage (7.5%) viewed reunification negatively due to economic (66%) or political (33%) difficulties.

Regarding the importance of the UN and NGOs in reunification, almost half the respondents believe the UN plays an important role, whilst almost 70 % consider NGOs important.

Regarding the importance of women’s role in reunification, over 80% view it as important.

Based on the survey results and analysis, they presented a two-part action plan:

A) Create a platform for youth to discuss reunification topics near the DMZ to facilitate peace with support from the UN to ensure safety. It would be available for communicating with North Korean women and youth.

B) Set up projects to offer practical assistance to North Korean women and youth. This would involve two aspects (i) educating South Korean women and teenagers about the cultural differences and circumstances of their North Korean counterparts (ii) supporting North Korean women with basic needs through sending them health and hygiene products.

They concluded by inviting suggestions from NGOs in support of their project. (315 words)


‘Women’s Leadership for Reconciliation and Peace in the Korean Peninsula’

Dr. Lan Young Moon,

Co-Chair, Korean Council on Reconciliation and Cooperation 2003-2010

• Professor, SunHak Universal Peace Graduate University  Current Senior Advisor, Women’s Federation for World Peace Experience:

• 2000 – May 2014 WFWP, International president & Korea president

• Mar. 2001 – May 2014: Co-chair, Korea Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation Joint representative, All Korean Committee for the Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration  1999 – 2014: made 19 humanitarian trips to North Korea to promote reconciliation and peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.

Professor Moon expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to share her personal

experience of the Korean peace and reconciliation process. With the inauguration of WFWP by Rev. & Dr. Moon in 1992, women were called to lead in creating a ‘peaceful world and one global family’ with special emphasis on healing the tragic division of the Korean Peninsula.

In 2001, ten years after Rev & Dr Moon’s historic visit to North Korea, Prof. Moon, a North Korean by birth who escaped to the South in 1950, travelled to the North as a WFWP representative with a group of women leaders to meet their North Korean counterparts.

Through meetings, discussions and tours, they caught a glimpse of the heart-breaking suffering of the people. On her return to the South, Prof Moon initiated the ‘1% Love Share Project’ to support women and children in the North. The project received national acclaim ranging from the First Lady to organisations nationwide with the active support of WFWP. The ensuing donations enabled them to send twice or thrice annually much needed food staples, warm clothing and school supplies, which opened the hearts of North Koreans.

In 2007, the ‘World Women Leaders Assembly’ with 740 representatives from 50 nations was held in Mt. Kum-Gang, North Korea. Encouraged by Rev & Dr Moon, supported by the authorities and with 10 North Korean delegates in attendance, it was the first such event involving women from North and South Korea together with international representatives to promote peace and reunification. Despite diverging viewpoints, the closing programme with a ‘Candlelight Prayer for Peace’ instilled great hope. The North Koreans acknowledged the event as historical and unforgettable and both Koreas recognised its success.

Rev & Dr Moon believe peaceful reunification is God’s plan and should be approached accordingly, particularly with women leaders practising love through service based on Mother Moon’s inspiring example of demonstrating motherly love for the world as ‘Mother of Peace.’

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